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Reching Out to Alumni Far and Wide

Dr. Merten with Los Angeles alumni

By President Alan G. Merten
Recently, I had one of the most enjoyable experiences of my tenure here at George Mason University. I traveled beyond the borders of Virginia to visit some of our alumni who now live and work in different parts of the country. This is something I have wanted to do since I accepted the presidency of our university. With the help of Jim Johnson, director of leadership gifts in the Development Office, and, of course, Chris Clark-Talley and her staff in the Alumni Affairs Office, I visited more than 50 graduates of George Mason in three California cities--San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles--and in Dallas, New York City, and Boston.

George Mason graduates Ken Hedrick, class of '71 and resident of San Francisco; Scott Clarkson, class of '82 and resident of Los Angeles; Chris Byrnes, class of '93 and resident of San Diego; Steven Deutch, class of '77 and resident of Dallas; Robert Callahan, class of '86 and resident of New York City; and Maureen O'Neill, class of '94 and resident of Boston, are to be recognized for their help in hosting the meetings that we held in these cities. Each of you is doing an outstanding job of representing the best of what George Mason University is and what we hope to build upon.

Alumni gather in Dallas with Dr. Merten

For me, the trip was wonderful on many levels. Personally, it was very gratifying to meet and hear firsthand how the experiences these men and women had at George Mason are now helping them in their careers and lives. It was equally satisfying to listen to these graduates voice their loyalty to our institution and express interest in doing what they can to support George Mason and serve as active members of the Alumni Association. Finally, it was rewarding to see firsthand that our institution's name is being carried across the nation in such a positive way.

George Mason University is at the beginning stages of what will become the most comprehensive outreach effort in our institution's history. The university's top administrators, academic leaders, and many faculty and staff members are currently working to build bridges and establish connections with as many key elements as possible of our region and beyond for the single purpose of making George Mason stronger than ever. If successful, our institution will be better able to provide more students with scholarship monies, create more endowed chairs that top scholars can fill, acquire greater amounts of state-of-the-art equipment for the campus to use, greatly enhance our own infrastructure, be an even better partner to our region, and, ultimately, make our potential for greatness a reality.

The value of a degree from George Mason University will be immeasurably enhanced by the achievement of these challenging, yet worthy, goals. As a result, graduates from our institution, such as Ken, Scott, Chris, Steven, Robert, and Maureen, and the more than 70,000 who have received a diploma here, will be better able to compete with any other college-educated man or woman in the country. Like the institution itself, they, too, will be "first among equals."

If you would like to be involved in regional activities with fellow alumni, please let us know! Contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at (703) 993-8696 or

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